Temptations to Sin
17 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[b]3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Increase Our Faith
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant[c] plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,[d] and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[e] we have only done what was our duty.’”
It made me think of an incident that happened on Friday in my classroom. We have a big bucket of balls to play with at recess. The bucket is right by the door but inevitably students will walk right past it, forgetting to grab a ball on the way out, and only remember this once they get outside. We have talked, as a class, about making sure they have everything they need BEFORE they head outside--warm enough clothes (we check a weather website every morning so that no one is surprised how cold it is), a visit to the bathroom, and any play equipment they need. We have also talked about why they should not return into the school after they have left--the teacher needs to know where the students are and once they are out that's where they should stay out, there isn't always supervision because that's the teacher's time to get a drink and visit the bathroom, and it is their job to remember to take everything they need. There are always exceptions to the "stay out once you're out" rule and students are reminded to ask the outdoor duty teacher to go back in (if they get hurt, if they REALLY have to go to the bathroom) so that someone knows where they are.
On Friday, I was actually in my classroom when 3 little friends came whispering and tip toeing down the hall to get a ball from the bucket. One had hatched the plan to do this and the others were along for moral support. :) The 2 "supporters" succumbed to temptation even though they knew they should not be back in the school and the looks on their faces told that.
“Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!
Now obviously, sneaking into a school during recess to get a ball is a minor offence, but the principle is that we are easily swayed into thinking that many things are just minor things AND that it is possible to do it without someone knowing about it. We also, may invite others to do it with us and that is the bigger issue. We must:
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him
Now that's the hard part: Forgiveness. It is very easy for me to forgive one situation like this but what if it happens again on Monday ....and Tuesday...and Wednesday and every day for a month??? Six year olds spit out "I'm sorry" very easily and the bible says:
4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
How many times do we act like six year olds? Do we need frequent reminders about things we already know and yet we try to sneak and do them anyway? How many times do we think that no one will notice anyway? How many times have we invited others to join us? Too many times in my life...
The next part of the passage talks about faith.
"The Mustard Seed" is the name of the quarterly publication of the full colour newsletter that Christian school where I teach publishes. I took this from it's latest addition:
The Mustard Seed is a publication of [the school where I teach] The name is taken from the biblical parable where Jesus points out that although the mustard seed is very tiny, it has great potential. At [the school where I teach] children are seen as having God given potential which needs careful nurturing. The pages of The Mustard Seed are designed to demonstrate the vibrancy of the day-to-day activity in our schools and to help readers understand the importance of exposing children to a learning environment infused with faith and caring.
The mustard seed is small. Very small.
However, the potential is enormous! I found this photo online of the mustard plant:
Jesus says: “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Finally, this passage talks about doing our jobs.
9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[e] we have only done what was our duty.’”
Again, this makes me think about my job as a Grade 1 teacher.
Last Thursday evening, our school hosted an opening program. We gather students and families from both of our school campuses and performed some songs and we as a school were prayed over for the coming year. It's stressful because we have been with these kids just 20 school days. The music teacher (who is half time) has taught them 2 songs. The kids get super pumped wearing new clothes (many of the girls wear "high heels" (mary janes with a chunky heel) and it is a late night for some of them. We also gather the students in a church basement...which looks like a gym and students (about 200 of them) cannot resist the urge to run around like maniacs. Teachers trying to keep some semblance of order kind of feel like they are herding cats. "Night of Chaos" is how many teachers refer to opening program.
During our last rehearsal, the principal had to talk to the students about their behaviour and lack of listening and what their job was. Of course, when it was all said and done and the concert was over, everything went as planned. Each person had a job to do and each person had done their job.
We have jobs to do too. We really shouldn't need the reminder to do what we are supposed to do. We should just do it.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 17:11-19
All good reminders.
Great thoughts here Pam! Love the real life examples.
I appreciated MacArthur's summary about how this is all dealing with the issue of humility....
Humble, so as to always submit to Scripture in doctrine and practice, never then to lead anyone into error or sin. Humble so as to always forgive those who sin against us no matter how many times. Humble so as to be aware always of our own weakness and have a growing dependency on the power of God. Humble so as always to recognize that even our best service falls far short and we are unworthy servants who have only done what we have ought to have done and hardly even that, ascribing all God's gifts then to grace.
Humble yourself like this and you will manifestly demonstrate that you are a true child of God and one day God will exalt you and the Lord will seat you at His table and serve you.
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